Grandmothers number of grandmothers raising their grandchildren

Grandmothers have always played an important role in the lives of African Americans.The culture respects, even reveres, old people for their experience and wisdom.Traditionally, grandmothers have been essential to the economic survival of their families. They also were the primary source of family stories and oral histories that helped children to survive racism (Jimenez, 2002).In recent years a growing number of African American grandmothers have become "new parents again" by taking on sole parenting responsibility for their grandchildren.In this essay, we will explore their reasons for taking on this work in their old age, their roles historically, and some of the effects on them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The number of grandmothers raising their grandchildren nearly doubled between 1970 and 2000-from 2.2million to 4.5 million.During the 1990s the biggest increase was among families with no parent present, usually because of social problems such as the mother's alcohol or drug abuse.Death from AIDS, long-term incarceration, and mental illness are other reasons (Jimenez, 2002; Ruiz & Zhu, 2004).The trend has become a "dominant theme" for social work research, and the term skipped generation caregiver has come into use (Gibson, 2002a).Of all the children living with grandparents in the U.S., nearly 44% are African American, a proportion that is six times greater than in white families (Kelley & Sipe, 2001).The fastest growing type of foster care is "kinship care," arranged by the child welfare system (Gibson, 2002).Usually, the grandmother is the primary caregiver.She assumes the role in order to preserve family bonds, to maintain family loyalty, and to keep her grandchildren out of the foster care system.
African American grandmothers as caregivers is no new phenomenon.Jiminez (2002) did a study in which she examined primary sources such as the testimonies o…